We are thrilled to have Renee Seabrook Hart, a basic skills teacher at Thomas E. Bowe Elementary School, establish a BookSmiles branch in Glassboro, New Jersey! She is partnering with Mary Aruffo, a talented teacher I met over the summer. Since they started a few weeks ago, Team Glassboro has sourced nearly 1,000 books, and every elementary school in town is a collection station.
Teachers like Renee and Mary are powerful agents who will spread literacy by inspiring others to harvest millions of books throughout New Jersey. Teachers and students will put books into the hands and homes of hundreds of thousands of children and babies.
Here are pics of Glassboro High senior Nimra Younas sorting, Renee and me posing at Camden County's International Day, and Renee speaking at on behalf of BookSmiles at the NJEA.
We were so excited to distribute over 500 books when Lindenwold High School collaborated with Bethany Baptist Church to supply turkeys and fixings to those in need.
BookSmiles' power comes from being embedded in the schools, activating students and teachers to collect, sort, and distribute books to the babies and kids in the districts we serve.
Spanish and Spanish/English books are in very high demand by ESL teachers. These books are lures that get many Spanish-speaking parents reading to their kids. WE CAN'T GET ENOUGH.
We are grateful to have a partner like the Camden County Pop Up Library that provided us with a case of Spanish children's books. I was able to pass several along to Tangika Rouse, an elementary school teacher at Winslow's School #1 whom I had met at the NJEA Convention.
Take a close look at the titles we're holding. Please donate so that we can purchase more.
How thrilling to have presented BookSmiles at the 2018 NJEA convention with Renee Seabrook Hart and Jane Arochas, two teachers respectively starting branches in the Glassboro and Vineland school districts. The beauty of BookSmiles is that our model is easy to replicate among staff and students in underserved districts. I can attest that Lindenwold has sourced over 84,000 books since we started in September 2017
Once BookSmiles gets embedded into a Title 1 district (60 % free/reduced lunch or greater), students will no longer feel badly if they can't afford books at Scholastic Fairs. Most of our books are like new! BookSmiles enables families to build 100-book personal libraries for their children at no cost.
A couple dozen teachers were thankful to take home sets of popular titles (Magic Tree House, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Junie B. Jones, Dear Dumb Diary, etc.) put together by our own Jim Ward.
Last Thursday, Lindenwold High School freshmen distributed books to the little ones across the street as Elementary School #4 let out. They helped put 900 books into the hands of 500 children and parents in 20 minutes!
BookSmiles is all about helping families build personal libraries for their babies and children, many of whom don't get the chance to select books at Barnes and Noble or Scholastic Book fairs.
Thank you for helping spread literacy through book donations and financial contributions. Check out the video to feel the EXCITEMENT!
Board member Jim Ward had a great idea: why not group books together into sets as we sort? Now we're doing this as we sort. Teachers will be able to select from tidy banded sets, featuring popular titles such as Geronimo Stilton, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Tree House, ABC Mysteries, Junie B. Jones, and so many more.
BookSmiles was founded over a year ago by a high school English teacher who believes that teachers should not have to pay big bucks for books. Reach out to us if you're a teacher who would like free sets for your classroom. The are free!
We are very grateful for our supporters who have donated books and funds to enable us to do what we do!
Chadeau James was one of my students about eight years ago, soaking in The Crucible, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Catcher in Rye. Now she is a mother-to-be who stopped by the school today to load up on books for her baby, due in another month.
This was a tear-in-the-eye moment for me as a teacher. This is a SWEET SPOT for BookSmiles. To help mothers welcome their babies into book-filled homes is simply the best. And the fact that I can do this for a beloved student is even better!
It was incredible to speak recently at The University of Rochester, my alma mater. I loved going to school here, and it occurred to me, as I revisited the stacks in the Rush Rhees Library, that this place helped inspire BookSmiles. I recall the stacks as a refuge and a great place to study.
I used study breaks to wander. I leafed through books nearly as old as our country. It always impressed me that this place housed millions of books.
BookSmiles will one day announce that we have sourced and distributed millions of books to kids who previously had none.
Max, one of my freshmen, helped at our pop up book fair during Lindenwold Day. Hundreds more books are now in the homes of our students. Having students like Max spread literacy is one of the SWEET SPOTS. Our Lindenwold is a town that reads!
Dan McVay, a talented and compassionate supervisor for Philadelphia Department of Human Services, thought it would be a great idea to start putting children's books into the hands of Philadelphia toddlers and kids experiencing trauma, poverty, and abuse. BookSmiles will feed his organization tens of thousands of books over the years.
Here he is, about to load his van with 875 sorted books! Below, you will see his staff members assembling a library that we will keep restocked. BAM!